Operators in a sector which is all about helping businesses make the right moves are working together to raise standards and help companies survive and thrive.
Managers of business centres in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire which between them house dozens of companies employing hundreds of people acknowledge that they are competitors in one sense but still colleagues when it comes to promoting their sector and raising standards.
Freya Cross, Business and Corporate Manager at The Deep in Hull and a national board member of the Business Centre Association, initiated the group as new business centres started to emerge in the wider city area. She said:
We work together to protect the industry and to support each other.
Their latest meeting took place at the new K2 complex in Bond Street Hull and was hosted by Brian Freestone, Communities Director of Tradepark Business Space. In addition to Freya, it was attended by Donna Hughes, Centre Manager at BIZ HUB in Melton and Amanda Hoggart, whose role as Business Centre Manager for East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s (ERYC) existing portfolio also includes launching ergo, the new business centre at Bridgehead Business Park, Hessle.
We operate in the same sector but we are all different. The Deep Business Centre has been operating for a long time, whereas ergo and K2 are new arrivals each with a different offer. We vary from local, independent centres to those with a larger, national portfolio such as BIZ HUB and Biz Space.
Brian moved from Regus at Norwich House in Hull to launch the mixed-use development of offices, retail and residential space at K2. He told how the K2 team began construction in October 2017 and welcomed their first clients in February this year.
Donna revealed that BIZ HUB is “progressing well” since the six business centres in the group were acquired by Seneca in a £20 million deal in September 2017. She added that the group is expanding by opening more business centres.
Amanda said that the ERYC business services team, formed in 1998, began with one business centre in Beverley and now operates from nine different locations at Brough, Bridlington, Driffield, Goole, Market Weighton and Hessle.
They will hold its official, invitation-only launch during Humber Business Week on Tuesday 5 June, followed by an open day on Wednesday 6 June in readiness for hosting the next meeting of the group later that month.
The detail of our discussions is confidential but in general terms we talk about the issues that are always there such as business rates, technology and connectivity as well as emerging trends that are changing the work environment. We also discuss national issues and legislation changes which are likely to affect what we do and how we do it, such as Brexit and GDPR.
Essentially we are working together to promote our region and to raise awareness among businesses of all sizes and in most sectors, as well as start-ups, about the benefits of operating from a business centre rather than adding property to the list of things they have to think about in running their organisation.